Most of Georgia Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff's campaign funds came from outside the state, and he is '"bringing in Hollywood actors to push his message", Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said Wednesday, calling him a "shell-candidate who doesn't live in the district".
While Democrats can savor the moral victory of almost snatching a seat outright in a Republican stronghold, they will need to translate anti-Trump fury and substantial fundraising into concrete ballot-box results if they are to mount a viable comeback.
Also read:This is where your tax dollars went in 2016. Price won 62 percent of the vote in November, about 14 percentage points ahead of Trump's total.
Democrats still hope Ossoff can capitalize on Trump's lackluster popularity - his poll numbers lag at around 40 percent, a record low for a new president. Other Democratic House candidates are faring well in the early fundraising wars, a budding trend that could make it harder for Republican incumbents to coast to re-election.
One that would trouble Democrats and reassure Republicans came in a 2006 special election for California's 50th District House seat.
"I think it's overstated the effect that what is going on in Washington has on a local race like this, where local issues are the most important thing to voters", Ossoff said. Democrat won both seats.
There are few parallels to draw because the race is a special election with unique dynamics, and because of the unusual primary in which the top two finishers would advance, regardless of party. Democrats have a long-shot chance of taking back control of the House next year and breaking the GOP's monopoly control of Washington.More news: Oil market improving, UAE complying 100% with cut: Energy minister
Still, the GOP side was divided between candidates with very different views of President Trump.
Georgia's sixth District is a good illustration.
However, Perez said the party would target up to 35,000 Democrats who voted in November's presidential election but not on Tuesday.
Handel does need the president's backing, Bullock said.
"I don't imagine that the outcome of the runoff is in that much question, but does Senator Graham have something there, that the Republican Party needs to pay attention to changing demographics, particularly in the South?" the reporter asked.
Another distinct difference between now and 2008: Democrats actually won contested seats that year. They didn't run for a runoff, they ran to win last night, and they lost.
Republicans should take no comfort in winning, though. Is the President planning to campaign for the Republican challenger there? And Bullock said there may be voters who buy into the idea that a vote against Handel is a vote against Trump.